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The vocabulary of budget development is part of the language required for writing a winning grant proposal. Revised and expanded in mid-2016, this final set of entries covers words and phrases from R to Z. Its context is the United States of America.

 

RESTRICTED FUNDS: Funds that a grant recipient may use only for predetermined purposes – such as those defined in the approved budget of a funded grant proposal – and that consequently it cannot expend as general funds. Also see: Unrestricted Funds.

 

REVIEW PANEL: A group of peers or experts retained by a grant maker to evaluate the merits of grant proposals in a grant competition and to recommend which ones should be funded. Sometimes the reviewers may include one or more directors or trustees of a foundation.

 

SALARIES: The compensation of professional and technical personnel – who are typically limited only to those holding a post-secondary degree – before the addition of fringe benefits.

 

SEED MONEY: A grant award intended to help start a new project or initiative or to launch a new non-profit organization. It also may be called a Start-Up Grant.

 

SELECTION CRITERIA: The formal set of factors a grant maker uses in scoring and ranking a set of competitive proposals to determine which ones it will select for funding. It also may be called Criteria or Review Criteria.

 

SINGLE POINT OF CONTACT (SPOC): A person in state government whom an applicant must inform when it is applying for a federal grant in the United States of America. A list of single points of contact is maintained at the federal Office of Management and Budget. Some states have a SPOC, others don’t.

 

SOFT FUNDS: A non-technical term for the funding of staff positions or other resources using grant funds rather than other means such as revenues from tax levies; it reflects the premise that such assets are not as secure, over the long term, as those funded using other means (e.g., annual tax levies). Also see: Hard Funds.

 

STANDARD FORM: A blank template that an applicant must complete and submit, as each specific program requires, with its application for a federal grant. A comprehensive collection of standard forms is available at the federal General Services Administration, but be certain to observe strictly the cautionary guidance available at this site.

 

SUB-GRANTEE: A lower-tier recipient (e.g., a county agency) of grant funds from a higher-tier recipient of those funds (e.g., a state agency) and not directly from the grant maker; also called a sub-recipient. Also see: Grantee.

 

SUPPLANTING: A deliberate shifting or displacement in the source of funds (e.g., state or local) used to afford a given resource (e.g., personnel) in an organization because of the availability of federal grant funds after a new grant award. One caveat in many government grant programs is “Do not supplant.”

 

SUPPLIES: A cost category for consumable resources such as paper, pens, pencils, postage, folders, files, binders, paperclips, toner, blank data storage media, and similar office products. Definitions and thresholds for value of the discrete items vary widely across grant programs and funding agencies. Also see: Materials.

 

SUSTAINABILITY: A measure of the perceived likelihood that an applicant (and its partners, if any) will be able to obtain and use funding (and other resources) from itself and/or other sources to continue its proposed project or initiative after its initial grant funding ends. Grant makers of all types often favor proposals that exhibit a high potential for sustainability.

 

TRAVEL: A cost category for costs associated with going place-to-place, including fares (air, bus, train, taxi, or shuttle), vehicle rentals or leases, mileage, tolls, meals, tips, and lodging. Every item assigned to this category must be clearly defined and well justified.

 

UNALLOWABLE COSTS: The cost categories or discrete line items that a grant maker forbids or discourages an applicant to include as part of a proposed budget. Also see: Allowable Costs.

 

UNIFORM APPLICATION FORMS: The standard forms that applicants must complete and submit with applications for federal grants; several of them require specific or detailed budget information. Examples: SF-424 and SF-524. In federal programs, these are associated with specific notices of grant opportunities posted on http://www.grants.gov.

 

UNRESTRICTED FUNDS: Funds from a grant or any other source that an organization may use for any legal purpose, such as general funds or operating funds. Also see: Restricted Funds.

 

WAGES: The hourly compensation of non-professional personnel – typically all of those who do not hold a post-secondary degree – before the addition of fringe benefits, if any.

 

ZERO FUNDING: The termination of a grant program authorized by law or regulation by ending all appropriations for funding it.

 

This post concludes a seven-part series on Budget Development. A later series of posts will present a Proposal Development Dictionary.

 

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